J.J. Abrams is notorious for being secretive about any in-development project with which he is associated and the Star Trek followup, Star Trek 2, looks to be no exception.
Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, and Robert Orci are currently in the midst of scripting Stark Trek 2, which begins pre-production in January 2011. Abrams has so far been tight-lipped about the direction that the Star Trek sequel will take, though he did share the following nugget of food for thought with SFX magazine for their upcoming 200th issue:
"The universe that [original 'Star Trek' creator Gene] Roddenberry created was so vast. And so it’s hard to say there’s one particular thing that stands out as what the sequel must be. Which is on the one hand, a great opportunity. On the other hand it’s the greatest challenge – where do you go? What do you focus on? But I’m incredibly excited about the prospects."
The 2009 Star Trek movie used the plot device of time travel - which itself could be considered a staple of the Star Trek franchise at this point - in order to (literally) reboot the timeline of the original series. While a number of longtime Trekkies would like characters such as the Klingons or Khan Noonien Singh to play a prominent role in future installments, Abrams and his crew have a lot of freedom with respect to the worlds and creatures they could factor into Star Trek 2 and beyond.
Both Kurtzman and Orci were also interviewed by SFX and addressed their issues relating to who the villain of Star Trek 2 would actually be. Kurztman specifically brought up Khan's name in his interview and mentioned the following:
"You have to start with what is the right story. And that if you can say "That’s a story that Khan fits into", that’s how you get to that. Not deciding on a menu list of items and then seeing if you can’t string them all together."
Orci echoed his co-worker's concerns and had this to offer as well:
"Introducing a new villain in the sequel is tempting because we now have this incredible new sandbox to play in... The trick is not to do something that’s been seen before just because you think it will be a short cut to likeability."
Lindelof compared Star Trek 2 to The Dark Knight a few weeks ago, which left a number of fans concerned that the sci-fi sequel would strike an uncharacteristically gritty and dark tone. Kurtz and Orci assured SFX this was not the case and that the Star Trek sequel - which Orci confirmed will feature more of funnyman Simon Pegg as Scotty - will be similar in tone to its predecessor.
J.J. Abram's Star Trek was well regarded for striking a balance between effects-driven action sequences and character/plot-oriented scenes - not to mention the fact that it avoid the 2 1/2 hour + running time of entries from other blockbuster franchises such as Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean. The Star Trek sequel will hopefully be able to repeat that act and then some.
Star Trek 2 is scheduled for release on June 29th, 2012.